|About the Book|
The Wharton twins, Lady Elizabeth and Sir Ariel, expect the best of everything as they look forward to their 18th birthdays in the London society of 1804. Why wouldnt they? They are rich, fine-looking and aristocratic. Despite the fact that theirMoreThe Wharton twins, Lady Elizabeth and Sir Ariel, expect the best of everything as they look forward to their 18th birthdays in the London society of 1804. Why wouldnt they? They are rich, fine-looking and aristocratic. Despite the fact that their father has been away for years the Kings business, their charmed lives go on uninterrupted. They are protected much like delicate figurines within a fragile crystal case. But crystal, once shattered, cannot be mended. Soon, the life the twins have known will be smashed to jagged shards. They had looked forward to elegant balls, lavish presents, and new romances, just as their friends did. What they get instead is a growing awareness that they cannot trust anyone. They learn that only a thin veneer of etiquette and their fathers wealth and power protect them from ancient hatreds and evil schemes. And once those truths are exposed, they must decide how they will live and whom they will love. The signs had been there but Elizabeth and Ariel had chosen not to see them. For one thing, Maman now spends her days alone in her library, sending and receiving correspondence. And she has given their older brother, the Viscount Embry, control of their household and their fortunes. Elizabeth and Ariel admit Embry is handsome and brilliant, a skilled whip and breeder of good racing stock. But in every other way, they complain, he is a crushing bore, spending hours in his workshop designing strange little devices, choosing not to go into society, content with surrounding himself with the skilled craftsmen he employs. When he does emerge, he announces new rules to govern their lives. No birthday ball for them. Perfect decorum in public at all times. Strict silence about family matters. And Embry makes dramatic pronouncements that drive Elizabeth mad. We are not like everyone else, he intones. People seek reasons to attack us. She scoffs at his warnings and battles against his rules. Then one of Embrys workmen, a favorite of the twins, is viciously attacked and Embrys workroom is torn apart. Next, their elegant home is invaded and ransacked. The twins ask each other, What were the thugs looking for? What is Embry really doing? Who are these new men, the Austrian baron and the Spanish Jewish doctor, now living in their home and controlling their lives? And why does their mother let this all happen? Suddenly, Elizabeth and Ariel are ordered by their brother to flee London. He appoints the Spanish doctor, Judah Halevi Nieto, as their guide, and demands that the twins obey him in all things. Nieto leads them out of the shelter of their home into a dangerous world where they meet smugglers, madams, brawlers and poor workingmen, all struggling against great odds and beginning to espouse revolutionary ideas. For the first time, the twins sense the waves of change that threaten to drown the old order of the life they had assumed would be theirs. In the center of the turmoil stands Judah Halevi, his brilliant blue eyes glowing with secret knowledge, his face drawn with the weight of his responsibilities, his body scarred with his personal terrors. Who is he really? A kind mentor? A passionate lover? A courageous fighter or a sadistic torturer? Or perhaps he is all of these at once? In this second book from the award-winning author of You Shall Know Our Names, young people face the challenge of becoming adults and, along the way, they shed their innocence about the people in their lives. They learn that old hatreds and prejudices still exist under societys polite veneer and begin to appreciate the humanity of people of all classes who struggle against oppression. At the same time, they discover that the world they will inherit is one in which the winds carry the scents of revolution and revenge. They must decide if they will go forward to meet the unknown future or retreat back behind gilded gates into the safety of the familiar.